The directors of the Migration Working Group – North West – Dr Zana Vathi and Dr Ruxandra Trandafoiu – will be affiliated with the Institute for Social Responsibility (ISR) for 1 year, starting on the 1st of June 2020. A 0.4 secondment for 12 months, the role will focus on the generation of externally funded, inter-disciplinary projects, bringing together EHU academics and/or external partners to address major ongoing social issues in the UK and beyond. Following a competitive call for applications, this year the ISR offered two seconded posts, which will inevitably impact on the migration and media research carried out in EHU.

Zana’s programme of research focuses on international migration, integrating ongoing research projects and interests with new, path-breaking ideas. She is particularly keen on projects that have the potential to bring together different, currently disparate, fields of research such as migration, environment and wellbeing. To this end, she plans to engage in multi-scale research activities that address COVID-19, starting with work in the North West with a focus on wellbeing and extending this intercontinentally with a focus on East Africa. Zana has longstanding interests linked to equality and diversity in the field of migration; one of the planned projects will look at the UK HE with the aim to broaden the focus on minority issues within the sector. With her ongoing work on return migration, physical environment and belongingness in cities, and psychosocial wellbeing in the context of migration, she plans to make the fellowship a time of networking and impactful interdisciplinary research endeavours.

Ruxandra’s ISR fellowship will focus on developing her current research interests that include enhancing the political engagement and communication capabilities of marginalized communities, citizenship and digital activism, and transmedia cultures, agency and authenticity. Ruxandra plans to advance her research networks in Eastern Europe and North America through initiatives that chart the role of media in the emergence of public discourse on migration and diaspora, media and communities of trauma, diaspora art and creativity. One of her projects will more specifically centre on borders and diasporas, which are gaining in relevance in the current international context.